See Chicago Dance Announces Name Change, Refreshed Website, Gala Honorees at Chicago Dance Month Kickoff Event

CHICAGO—On Tuesday, March 27, See Chicago Dance (SCD), the dance industry’s nonprofit service organization founded as Audience Architects, kicked off Chicago Dance Month with a celebration at the Chicago Cultural Center, with performances and a reception featuring important news announcements.
The event featured performances by Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Winifred Haun & Dancers, Natya Dance Theatre, Project Bound, and Visceral Dance Chicago. SCD Executive Director Heather Hartley welcomed the nearly 400 people in attendance, encouraged them to attend performances by the companies featured during the event, and acknowledged Chicago Dance Month sponsors, including the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and Ginger Farley and Bob Shapiro, and Dance Month Partners, including the Chicago Cultural Alliance, City Winery, Block 37, and the Haitian American Museum of Chicago.

SCD Board President Michael McStraw, executive director of Giordano Dance Chicago, announced the organization’s brand evolution and name change from Audience Architects to See Chicago Dance, streamlining its identity to match the name of its popular website,, one of the largest and most comprehensive dance websites in the country. McStraw unveiled the website’s refreshed look and expanded services, including simplified navigation and even more information about the wealth of opportunities to enjoy dance in Chicago. Joining McStraw onstage was Ed Jaeky, officer and branch manager of Byline Bank, to make the transition official with a ceremonial signing of the legal documents.
McStraw then introduced Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for the city of Chicago, who spoke about the significance of Chicago Dance Month, as it represents the dynamic growth of the city’s dance industry, and acknowledged the valuable relationship between SCD and DCASE.

In more news, McStraw announced the individuals, both present at the Chicago Dance Month kickoff, whom SCD will honor at its Annual Gala, taking place September 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. at City Winery,1200 W. Randolph Street:

  • Angelique Power, president of the Field Foundation of Illinois, receives the Distinguished Service to the Dance Field Award, which recognizes outstanding philanthropic leadership and honors someone who has made tremendous contributions to the health and vibrancy of the Chicago dance sector.
  • Shirley Mordine, founder/artistic director of Mordine & Co. Dance Theater and founder and past director of the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, receives the Legacy Award, which honors someone who has demonstrated extraordinary artistic leadership in the field and made a momentous impact on the Chicago dance community.

Chicago Dance Month highlights the breadth, variety, and artistic richness of the Chicago dance community. In addition to the dozens of dance performances and classes taking place all over Chicago,FREE special events include Moving Dialogs: Culture in Motion (April 3), an interactive performance featuring Chicago Dance Crash and objects at the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, produced in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Alliance; Mid-Month Pop-up Performances (April 10), site-specific performances by several Chicago dance companies in the Pedway at Block 37; Open Studio Fridays(now through May 11), featuring performances, mini dance classes, and other activities every Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Dance Studio; and the Chicago Dance Month Celebration and Scavenger Hunt (April 30), a progressive event that starts on the steps of the Chicago Cultural Center, continues down Michigan Avenue with site-specific performances, and concludes along the Riverwalk.

For more information about Chicago Dance Month, visit



Photos by Andy Flaherty:
1. (L to R) Michael McStraw, Angelique Power, Shirley Mordine, Mark Kelly, Heather Hartley.
2. Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre.
3. Visceral Dance Chicago.
4. Deeply Rooted Dance Theater.